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Flying workers into Ireland goes against public health advice, says Dr Holohan

The Chief Medical Officer claims firms chartering planes to fly workers into Ireland goes against public health advice.

Keelings Fruit in Dublin has been criticised after it flew nearly 200 workers from Bulgaria to pick strawberries.

Dr Tony Holohan, who did not know about the flight until after it happened, says strict rules on who can travel here are in place.

"We don't want to see any other form of travel coming through the ports or the airports other than those sorts of categories and that has been our clear recommendation.

"Anybody who is coming through the airport that is in the categories that we identified, we see the public health advice that we have given as applying to those individuals."

The Taoiseach has now ordered a review into how the current travel restrictions are being followed at ports and airports.

Health Minister Simon Harris says he feels uneasy about the incident.

"I know that the company said that they were quarantining and follow public health advice for 14 days but I don't feel comfortable with it.

"I know the Taoiseach and I are both looking into this for more information.

"It just doesn't seem right to me or to him."

Fianna Fáil is calling for the government to stop giving work permits to some international citizens during the pandemic.

Business spokesman, Robert Troy, says the Business Minister must take radical action.

"Work permits were issued at a time when we were practically at full employment and when critical sections of the economy couldn't get employees to work in these sectors," he said.

"We unfortunately don't have full employment now and I would ask that Minister Humphreys review the work permit scheme within her department."

[ul][b]Useful information[/b] [li]The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here [/li] [li]Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;[/li] [li]GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.[/li] [li]ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024[/li] [/ul]